Proper protocol is important! When entering the presence of a king or the president of a country wise people check to see what is required – what is consider proper – upon entering their presence. Failure to follow the expected decorum can result in embarrassment, loss of favor, and disappointment. Thought of that as I read Psalm 100 this morning.
It seems to me that Psalm 100 addresses this issue on two levels: 1) The corporate level – when we gather together for worship in places dedicated to that purpose (houses of worship), and 2) On the personal level – when I “enter His presence” in times of personal devotion.
In both cases…
Joy and gladness is appropriate – a “joyful song” is considered proper protocol for corporate worship (and private worship as well).
A deep awareness of who God is, what He is like – His character is also essential – Silent, meditative, recall and reflection of His character sets the stage for entering His divine presence. It builds faith and sets the stage for effectively presenting our needs and requests. Our God-focus, in part at least, needs to be upon what verse 5 expresses: “For the Lord is good, and His love endure forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations!”
On the other hand, it is important for me to have a deep inner awareness of who I am… His creation, one of “His people” – one of the “sheep in His pasture – His flock” (and He is the “good Shepherd” – “the Lord is “my Shepherd” – our Shepherd, if you please).
Heartfelt thanksgiving and praise should be the FIRST thing out of our mouths when we enter His presence personally and the FIRST thing we do in corporate worship gatherings. It is pleasing to the Lord, it orients our hearts correctly, and it postures our heart appropriately for “asking and receiving“ ANYTHING from the Lord!
This morning, I’m standing at the threshold of His divine presence, ready, I believe, to enter!! I’m tingling with excitement and anticipation… The Holy Spirit is right here beside me to help me do this right (He is “the Helper” you know)… I’m using Psalm 100 as my guide… Here we go…